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Factors affecting Germination

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

From Seed to Plant - Factors affecting Germination Jessica Litwin Introduction Germination of non-dormant seeds requires the proper environment, with some specific factors being temperature, water and oxygen (Fimball, 2003). In some circumstances, germination will only occur after a period of dormancy, or once an inhibitant has been degraded away. After seeds have been dispersed to a variety of unpredictable locations there is reliance on the survival strategies and adaptations of the seed so that seeds can germinate under the most favourable conditions available. This extended experimental investigation is focused on the Ocimum basilicum, which is more commonly known as 'Sweet Genovese' Basil. The purpose of this investigation is to identify some of the primary survival strategies utilized by the Sweet Genovese Basil and further determine the recommended conditions to produce the optimum yields if growing as a crop. It will also be investigated as to whether environmental pressures have influenced these adaptations over time. Five factors pertaining to effective germination were determined and will be used throughout the investigation. These factors are; sunlight exposure, drainage, pH level, germination medium, frequency of water and seed depth. Alternate Hypotheses (H1) Sunlight The optimum sunlight exposure for germination is full sunlight. Drainage Full drainage provides better conditions than no drainage. pH level A neutral pH level is ideal. Germination Medium Vermiculite provides the best sterile medium to observe germination. Frequency of Watering Watering should occur once a day. Seed Depth Optimum depth when planting the seed is 5 mm. ...read more.

Middle

Due to cross-pollination there have been many sub-species created that are now classified under the name of O. Basilicum. Sweet Genovese Basil is commonly thought to be the best basil that can be used for pesto and this aromatic herb has culinary value for use in other Mediterranean style dishes (The Pool Room, 2007). It is also of cultural significance; it is a symbol of love in Italy and in is considered sacred in traditional Indian culture (Superb Herbs, 2007). For a species of plant to survive, effective germination of seeds is essential. If a seed drops directly below a plant it may eventually have to compete for light, water and nutrients with its parent plant and therefore it is beneficial for the seed to have structural adaptations. An example of this is miniscule hooks in the seeds to latch of on the hair/clothing of any bypassing animals/humans to be taken to another location for germination. After seeds are dispersed to these unpredictable locations through the use of their structural adaptations they must then be readily equipped so that they can successfully germinate and continue to develop. One way that this is done is through the use of germination triggers. Sometimes germination is triggers by an environmental factor such as light, or after a preceding period of dormancy. Sometimes inhibitants are used by the seed to ensure that the germination will occur at the most suitable time. One example of this is the use of abscisic acid, a chemical which works to induce dormancy in the seed (Koning, 2007). ...read more.

Conclusion

It is due to cross-pollination that several 'sub-species' can be formed which have the ability to adapt themselves to their climate. Some problems experienced when carrying out the investigation included rainy weather which required for the germination pots taken to shelter, possibly interfering with the outcomes of the experiment. Another problem encountered was what was suspected to be a bird knocking over a set of germination pots spilling out the vermiculite and seeds - this particular part of the experiment had to be redone. If the EEI was to be completed again it would be better if more levels of the variation could have been researched and also time of monitoring after germination was extended from one week to at least 14 days so that survival rates could be further observed. Conclusion Germination is an extremely important process relating to the survival of the plant species and therefore it must be considered for this to be possible a seed can develop adaptations and germination triggers. The Sweet Genovese is a variety of basil (Ocimum basilicum) and if this plant is to be considered for a crop it is important that research is done into its optimum environmental conditions. This report investigated five specific factors and after doing extensive research to support the results and give further elaboration it was then possible to outline some guidelines in order to produce an optimum yield. A future outcome that may be possible within this species is the possible development of more sub-species through cross-pollination and with relation to crops, the development of new pesticides or disease control methods. ...read more.

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